DoorDash buys robot food prep company Chowbotics

DoorDash buys robot food prep company Chowbotics
The DoorDash app is shown on a smartphone on Feb. 27, 2020, in New York. DoorDash is buying automated food prep company Chowbotics to expand its fresh meal offerings. San Francisco-based DoorDash announced the acquisition Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. (AP Photo)

DoorDash is buying automated food prep company Chowbotics to expand its fresh meal offerings.

San Francisco-based DoorDash announced the acquisition Monday. Terms of the deal, which closed late last year, weren't disclosed.

Hayward, California-based Chowbotics, which was founded seven years ago, makes a refrigerator-sized robot called Sally that can store up to 22 prepared ingredients. Sally uses those ingredients to make up to 65 salads, bowls and other meals at a time.

Prior to this year, Chowbotics had sold around 125 of its $35,000 robots, mostly to universities, medical centers and . But the company said sales jumped during the pandemic as customers looked for touch-free ways to dispense food.

DoorDash said Chowbotics' robots could allow its restaurant partners to offer more varieties of meals without having to expand their kitchen space. Other DoorDash merchants, like , could also use it to expand into .

Chowbotics CEO Rick Wilmer said DoorDash's reach will help his company grow. DoorDash offers delivery from 390,000 merchants in the U.S., Canada and Australia and is the food delivery market leader in the U.S.

DoorDash said Chowbotics' staff are now DoorDash employees. But otherwise, Chowbotics will continue to operate independently and has no plans to change its name.

DoorDash buys robot food prep company Chowbotics
In this June 23, 2020 file photo, Kang Kuan, vice president of culinary at Chowbotics, holds a custom salad made by his company's robotic salad-making kiosk at the company's headquarters in Hayward, Calif. DoorDash is buying the automated food prep company to expand its fresh meal offerings. San Francisco-based DoorDash announced the acquisition Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Terry Chea, File)

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